Directed by | Ron Howard
Produced by | Brian Grazer, Ron Howard
Written by | David Koepp
Starring | Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster, Omar Sy, Sidse Babett Knudsen ,Irrfan Khan
Run Time | 121 minutes
Certificate | 12a
Plot | When an obsessive biotech billionaire creates a pathogen designed to wipe out half of the world’s population, Robert Langdon (Hanks) finds himself in the centre of the chaos once again.
Review | Adapted from the Dan Brown novel of the same name, Inferno is the threequel to 2006’s The Da Vinci Code and 2009’s Angel’s & Demons.
A framework of familiarity makes it easier to re-engage an audience that last crossed paths with with our hero over half a decade ago. Obviously, symbology and the decryption of codes plays a part here, though a little less so than before (Inferno doesn’t dwell so long on individual problems, instead opting for a more up-tempo thriller route). There’s also the classic historical city setting – from Paris and Rome before, we now move to Florence.
In franchised films there is a fine line between creating a feature that contains expected tropes and callbacks and just outright copying what has gone before. At times, Inferno can seem a little guilty of the latter. That said, it is thankfully a decent, enjoyable piece.
The plot itself is pretty straight forward – Bertrand Zobrist (Foster) has created and hidden a rather nasty virus. Langdon gets roped into the search for it, due to his reputation for solving elaborate historically rooted puzzles. Of course, there are a number of agencies all racing him to get to the virus for their own ends.
At two hours, Inferno surprisingly ticks along at a nice pace, only somewhat faltering when oddly paced flashbacks are dropped into the film just over halfway through. It’s helped along by some decent set pieces, and the final third in invigorated by a sharp and witty turn from Irrfan Khan in a memorable extended cameo.
The rest of the cast get what they can out of what are pretty wafer thin characters. It’s a testament to Hanks, Jones, Khan, Foster and Knudsen that they get anything more than a glimmer with how little dialogue they get to build character. Of the principle players, only Omar Sy really fails to make any kind of impact, but that isn’t really on him.
It’s not original in the slightest, and the couple of twists that are thrown in are heavily predictable, but despite these less than stellar descriptions, Inferno is implausibly entertaining.
The Verdict | Despite obvious twists and thin characterisation, Inferno is decent and implausibly entertaining.